The desperate search for Avonte Oquendo continues, as the reward was increased to $70,000 for information leading to his safe return.
On Thursday, the Manhattan Children’s Center, a not-for-profit private autism school, had matched the $5,000 put up Wednesday by the law firm Mayerson & Associates. Then on Friday, Autism Speaks and an anonymous donor upped that reward to $70,000.
As the search entered a week on Friday, there are few clues to his possible whereabouts. Friday evening, the police and volunteers spent the evening searching the subway system.
A red tent has now been set up in front of the Center Boulevard School, where Oquendo disappeared from last Friday, to make the search more of a 24-hour operation. Volunteers, including at least one family member, are staffing it around the clock.
“We’re just out here trying to give out as much information as we can to anyone that wants to help or volunteer or search for Avonte,” brother Daniel Oquendo, Jr., said. “We’re trying to have a family member or relative out here 24 hours a day, just in case he comes back here or anybody else wanders up here and wants to help.”
Police were handing out flyers at checkpoints along the street in the search for the boy, who is autistic, non-verbal and was last seen on surveillance video running out of the school unsupervised. They also consulted psychics and have searched those locations, including a tunnel under Tompkins Square Park, but those searches have come up empty.
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